5 Great Sources of Free Images – Public Domain and CC0-Licensed

Images have become a standard visual element for any website. Even the most text-heavy websites contain some amount of images to either emphasize a point or to break the visual monotony.

Unless you love to take pictures or make original images using your favorite image creation software, finding the right images for your website will be extremely difficult. You have the option to buy a license from professional image and photo providers such as ShutterStock or Graphicstock, but it will cost you just for a few images.

Meanwhile, some photos seem to be freely available online, but these may actually be posted without permission from the image owners. As a result, you may be charged exorbitantly for a single picture, or sued by the owner of the photo! That’s why, before you proceed in reading this article, let me emphasize this very important reminder: Do not use photos with uncertain licenses and without expressed permission from the owners.

Of course, waiting for the image owner’s permission might take some time, leading you to delay the posting of your blog or the release of your print project. If you want the best of both worlds – getting high-quality photos instantly and absolutely free – then your best option would be free images that are CC0-licensed.

What is a CC0 License?

This kind of license allows people to use any form of work without payment and attribution. These outputs were released by its creators and owners into the public domain, and labeled it as ”no rights reserved”. In short, they will not chase you for unpaid license fees or file a lawsuit against you for unauthorized use of their work. Owners of CC0-licensed files have waived “copyright and database protection, and the exclusive rights automatically granted” to them, according to this website.

Our Favorite Sources for Free Images

If you are excited to download your first batch of CC0-licensed images for your intended purpose, here are five amazing sources of free public domain and CC0-licensed works:


free images cc0-licensed-images-pixabay

With more than half a million free images under its arsenal, Pixabay takes the cake in terms of CC0-license domination. The free-image website allows photo owners and image creators to upload their works, and gives anyone the opportunity to download the images without hassle.

When looking for your desired image, you may either browse through the pictures displayed on the main page or use the ultra-powerful search engine. There’s definitely an image for practically any kind of topic or keyword.

1 Million Free Pictures

free images cc0-licensed-images-1millionfreepictures

It’s nowhere near what its name implies, but 1 Million Free Pictures is definitely a site that aims to grow. Tops Domingo, the owner of the CC0-licensed photos, has no intention of selling the pictures that he has been taking for years. The site was born in September 2013 as a way to offer the owner’s photos for free download.

Many of the pictures in this site have been edited to look like paintings, but you can still find some that have been untouched by image editing software.


free images cc0-licensed-images-gratisography

This photography website by Ryan McGuire is packed with his high-resolution photos that he uploads on a weekly basis. All of his pictures may be viewed on the front page via infinite scrolling, but you can use the Magic Auto Search feature to immediately find the photo that you need. The pictures are also arranged in categories (such as animals, nature, objects, people, and more) for easier navigation.

All the site owner asks for is a cup of coffee, but even that is optional.

Pickup Image

free images cc0-licensed-images-pickupimage

This photo website has close to 1,000 pictures available on public domain and CC0 licenses. Its current roster of pictures may not be as many as other more popular photo services, but the site’s free images are absolutely breathtaking! If you’re looking for nature and landscape photos, Pickup Image is a great place for free downloads.

Public Domain Pictures


This online source has more than 30,000 pictures under its belt, across several topics and categories. You can view the photos by category, by popularity, and by date uploaded. The images are easy to find with the site’s easy-to-use interface and layout, as well as its powerful search feature. By using Public Domain Pictures, you’ll be able to enjoy your free photos in no time.


It’s so amazing to think that photographers with exceptional eye for detail and excellent artistic skills can simply offer their outputs for free and without the need for any attribution. Shout out goes out to these mighty men and women who are willing to share their work to the world!